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Sindhu becomes first Indian to win World Championships

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Ace shuttler P. V. Sindhu became the first Indian to win the BWF World Championships, crushing Japan's Nozomi Okuhara 21-7, 21-7 in just 36 minutes in a one-sided final at Basel in Switzerland on Sunday.
India's P V Sindhu celebrates during the women's singles final match against Japan's Nozomi Okuhara at the BWF Badminton World Championships 2019 in Basel, Switzerland, on August 25, 2019. (Xinhua/Li Jundong/IANS)
India's P V Sindhu celebrates during the women's singles final match against Japan's Nozomi Okuhara at the BWF Badminton World Championships 2019 in Basel, Switzerland, on August 25, 2019. (Xinhua/Li Jundong/IANS)
Ace shuttler P. V. Sindhu became the first Indian to win the BWF World Championships, crushing Japan's Nozomi Okuhara 21-7, 21-7 in just 36 minutes in a one-sided final here on Sunday.
 
Sindhu's gold is the second medal that India won at the Worlds this year with Sai Praneeth winning a bronze in the men's singles category. 
 
The last time Sindhu and Okuhara met in a World Championships final was in 2017. In a pulsating encounter that lasted nearly two hours and involved a 73-shot rally, Okuhara emerged victorious in the end. Sindhu again reached the final in 2018, only to go down to Carolina Marín of Spain. However, she finally broke the jinx this time, brushing aside her opponent with a dominant show from start to finish. 
 
In stark contrast to Sindhu, the Japanese world No. 4 on Sunday looked completely at sea against the Indian star's relentless attacks. 
 
Although Okuhara won the first point of the first game, Sindhu won eight straight points after that to race to an 8-1 lead. Okuhara managed just one more point before the interval with Sindhu leading 11-2. 
 
The mauling continued for much of the second period of the opener, which ended in just 16 minutes. Okuhara got a few consecutive points towards the end to extend her score to 7 but Sindhu sealed the issue on her first game point. 
 
In the second game, Okuhara briefly kept pace until the score was 3-2 in Sindhu's favour after which the Indian took six consecutive points to race to a 9-2 lead.
 
Okuhara won two more points but Sindhu kept her foot on the pedal and went into the interval with an 11-4 lead. 
 
Okuhara went on to take just three more points in the second period as Sindhu continued to storm her way to the title. Once again, she managed to get over the line on her first match point.
 
This was the 16th match between Sindhu and Okuhara. Sindhu now leads 9-7 head-to-head, including three victories in the last five meetings before Sunday's clash. 
 
Both players had not won a title this year. While Okuhara reached the final after a hard-fought 17-21, 21-18, 21-15 win against Thailand's Ratchanok Intanon, Sindhu swatted aside China's Chen Yu Fei 21-7, 21-14 in her semi-final clash. 
 
This is Sindhu's fifth medal at the World Championships, which is the joint highest in women's singles in the history of the tournament along with Xhang Ning of China, a two-time Olympic gold medallist. Apart from the two silvers Sindhu won in the last two editions, she had also won the bronze in 2013 and 2014. 
 
IANS

(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)

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P V Sindhu loses to Carolina Marin in final, ends up with silver

World number one Carolina Marin of Spain overcame a first game loss to outplay India's P. V. Sindhu 19-21, 21-12, 21-15 in the final and win the gold medal in the badminton women's singles at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on Friday.
P. V. Sindhu
P. V. Sindhu
World number one Carolina Marin of Spain overcame a first game loss to outplay India's P. V. Sindhu 19-21, 21-12, 21-15 in the final and win the gold medal in the badminton women's singles at the Olympic Games here today.
 
It was Marin almost all the way in the match, barring the later stages of the first game, when Sindhu came from behind at 12-16 to first come up on level and then reel off five points in a row to win at 21-16.
 
But, overall, the 21-year-old was up against a much better player today as the Spaniard played aggressively almost throughout and controlled the proceedings.
 
This was the first time that an Indian had made it to the badminton singles final and the silver that Sindhu won today is an improvement on the bronze won by her teammate Saina Nehwal at the London Olympics in 2012.
 
Sindhu, appearing in her first Olympics, managed to stay level with Marin in the opening minutes but was soon behind at 2-5, 5-9 and then 6-12 as the Spaniard attacked well, both from the baseline and the net, and kept her rival moving all over court.
 
The Indian, however, fought back to narrow the gap at 16-17 but Marin then moved ahead to 19-16 with a powerful shot to Sindhu's backhand. A series of unforced errors by Marin helped Sindhu pull up at 19-19 and the Indian quickly picked up two more points to win at 21-19 before the Spaniard quite realised what had happened. Sindhu had scored five points in a row at that stage, reminding spectators of the manner in which she had reeled off 11 points in a row in the second game of yesterday's semi-final against Nozomi Okuhara of Japan, which she had won 21-19, 21-10.
 
Marin, an amazingly fast mover on the court, appeared more determined in the second game as she quickly jumped to a 4-0 lead, which she widened to 10-2 and then 11-4 before Sindhu could settle down.
 
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Sindhu fought back briefly, defending wll and come up some good shots at the net, to make it 7-14 but Marin, with superb angled shots, beautiful wrist work and deft placements, ensured that she stayed ahead, moving to 18-10 and then sealing the game at 21-12.
 
Marin began the decider on an aggressive note, grabbing a 7-4 lead. Again, Sindhu clawed her way back into the game by equalising at 10-10. The two players crossed over with Marin having a slender 11-10 advantage.
 
Sindhu kept up the fight but could not quite catch up and was behind at 14-16 from where Marin managed six points in a row to end up with six match points and prevailed finally at 21-15 to win the gold -- the first European woman to achieve the distinction in badminton at the Olympics. Sindhu is the first Indian woman to win a silver at the Olympics.
 
Sindhu has, in the process, become the fourth Indian to win an Olympic siver. The first was shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore in 2004, followed by shooter Vijay Kumkar and wrestler Sushil Kumar, both in 2008.
 
The silver helped India to move up to the 57th place in the medals tally table.
 
“I played well. I wanted to win, but I could not," Sindhu said after the match. “I am proud of what I have achieved.  Silver is no  mean achievement in  the Olympics."
 
“It was a tough encounter  and I gave my best," Sindhu said. “Marin is a very good player she played well. I tried to stop her in the third, but could not but I am not complaining.
 
“Every player wants to win and, in my heart of hearts, I was also thinking that only one match is left for the gld but that  turned out to be elusive.
 
“Never mind, it was a good match. I never thought I will ever play in the Olympic final. I am happy with the silver I got," she added.
 
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ICC World T20: New Zealand stun India by 47 runs

New Zealand pulled off a stunning 47-run win over hosts India in the first group stage match of the ICC World Twenty20 tournament at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium at Nagpur on Tuesday night.
 
New Zealand stun India, win by 47 runs
 
New Zealand pulled off a stunning 47-run win over hosts India in the first group stage match of the ICC World Twenty20 tournament at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium here tonight.
 
The hosts appeared to have done well when they restricted New Zealand to 126 for seven in their 20 overs after the Kiwis' skipper Kane Williamson won the toss and opted to bat first.
 
But they then managed to bowl out the Indians for just 79 in 18.1 overs to maintain their all-win record against India in T20 internationals, winning all the five matches they have met in so far. The shabby batting performance by the Indians was clearly no match for the might of the New Zealand bowling today.
 
Chasing what appeared to be an easy target, both the Indian openers departed under 10 runs. Shikhar Dhawan (1) was the first to go, trapped leg before wicket by Nathan McCullum.
 
Rohit Sharma followed him in the third over after making just five runs. He tried to take on Mitchell Santer, only to be removed by a stumping by Luke Ronchi. Suresh Raina (1) followed him into the pavilion in the same over. The south paw tried to flick the ball past mid-wicket only to play it too high and was caught by a waiting Martin Guptill at short mid-wicket.
 
Circumstances turned worse when Yuvraj Singh (4) followed within the power play, giving a return catch to Mccullum. Kohli who tried to build the innings with skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni departed at the start of the ninth over.
 
By this time India were 39/5 and had bleak hopes of regaining control of the match.
 
Soon the rest of the tail tumbled for a feeble 79/10 in 18.1 overs. Except Dhoni (30), Kohli (23) and Ravichandran Ashwin (10), none of the other batsmen could cross into double digits.
 
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The New Zealnd bowlers had a great day in the field with the ball. Slow-left-arm bowler Santer topped the bowling chart with figures of four for 11 with an economy of 2.75. This was backed up by Ish Sodhi who clamed three wickets for 18 in his four overs. Santer was chosen Player of the Match.
 
Earlier, things did not appear to be going to well for the Kiwis as they made first use of the pitch.
 
Opener Guptill smashed the first ball of the match from Ashwin for a straight six. But the off-spinner got even two balls later, trapping the batsman leg before wicket.
 
Colin Munro, who replaced him, departed after making just seven an over later, top-edging Ashish Nehra's ball to wide mid-on.
 
From then on, the Indian bowling attack struck home in terms of both picking up wickets at regular intervals and also restricting the Kiwis' run tally. 
 
Both Raina and Ravindra Jadeja completed their four overs with figures of one for 15 as the Indians came up with a good all-round perfomrnance in the field.
 
Dhoni took a catch off Jadeja and did a stumping as well and two brilliant runouts by Raina and Dhawan added to New Zealand's woes.
 
Corey Anderson stood out in the batting order, scoring 34 runs, and Luke Ronchi  scored 21 off 11 balls to take the side's total to 126 for seven at the end of 20 overs.
 
Scoreboard:
New Zealand innings (20 overs maximum)
MJ Guptill lbw b Ashwin 6
KS Williamson st Dhoni b Raina 8
C Munro c Pandya b Nehra 7
CJ Anderson b Bumrah 34
LRPL Taylor run out (Raina) 10
MJ Santner c †Dhoni b Jadeja 18
GD Elliott run out (Dhawan/Nehra) 9
L Ronchi not out 21
NL McCullum not out 0
Extras (b 4, lb 3, w 6) 13
Total (7 wickets; 20 overs) 126 (6.30 runs per over)
Did not bat: AF Milne, IS Sodhi
Fall of wickets: 1-6 (Guptill, 0.2 ov), 2-13 (Munro, 1.3 ov), 3-35 (Williamson, 6.5 ov), 4-61 (Taylor, 11.3 ov), 5-89 (Anderson, 15.4 ov), 6-98 (Santner, 16.4 ov), 7-114 (Elliott, 19.3 ov)
Bowling
R Ashwin 4 0 32 1
A Nehra 3 1 20 1
JJ Bumrah 4 0 15 1
SK Raina 4 0 16 1
RA Jadeja 4 0 26 1
HH Pandya 1 0 10 0
 
India innings (target: 127 runs from 20 overs)
RG Sharma st Ronchi b Santner 5
S Dhawan lbw b McCullum 1
V Kohli c Ronchi b Sodhi 23
SK Raina c Guptill b Santner 1
Yuvraj Singh c & b McCullum 4
MS Dhoni c McCullum b Santner 30
HH Pandya lbw b Santner 1
RA Jadeja c & b Sodhi 0
R Ashwin st Ronchi b Sodhi 10
A Nehra b Milne 0
JJ Bumrah not out 0
Extras (w 3, nb 1) 4
Total (all out; 18.1 overs) 79 (4.34 runs per over)
Fall of wickets: 1-5 (Dhawan, 0.5 ov), 2-10 (Sharma, 2.2 ov), 3-12 (Raina, 2.5 ov), 4-26 (Yuvraj Singh, 4.5 ov), 5-39 (Kohli, 8.1 ov), 6-42 (Pandya, 9.4 ov), 7-43 (Jadeja, 10.2 ov), 8-73 (Ashwin, 16.3 ov), 9-79 (Dhoni, 17.4 ov), 10-79 (Nehra, 18.1 ov)
Bowling
NL McCullum 3 0 15 2
CJ Anderson 3 0 18 0
MJ Santner 4 0 11 4
GD Elliott 2 0 9 0
AF Milne 2.1 0 8 1
IS Sodhi 4 0 18 3
 
Toss - New Zealand, who chose to bat
Points - New Zealand 2, India 0
Player of the match - MJ Santner (New Zealand)
 
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SC appoints Gavaskar to oversee IPL as interim BCCI chief, Yadav to handle other functions

The Supreme Court on Friday appointed former Indian cricket skipper Sunil Gavaskar as interim president of the BCCI to oversee the IPL in place of incumbent N Srinivasan, who has stepped aside till the completion of the inquiry into allegations of betting and spot-fixing in the Twenty20 tournament.
 
BCCI counsel welcomes SC verdict
The Supreme Court today appointed former Indian cricket skipper Sunil Gavaskar as interim president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to oversee the Indian Premier League (IPL) in place of incumbent N Srinivasan, who has stepped aside till the completion of the inquiry into allegations of betting and spot-fixing in the Twenty20 tournament.
 
The apex court also said that all other functions of the BCCI president would be handled by another former cricketer, Shivlal Yadav, who is the seniormost vice-president of the BCCI. He represents the South Zone, the zone represented by Mr Srinivasan.
 
The court also allowed the two teams, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR), to participate in the seventh season of IPL beginning April 16. Both teams are being investigated for alleged involvement in the betting and spot-fixing scandal.
 
A two-judge bench comprising Mr Justice A K Patnaik and Mr Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla posted the matters before them, arising out of two petitions, for further hearing to April 16 and noted that it would take some more days after that for the hearing to be completed and for judgement to be delivered.
 
They noted that Mr Srinivasan had made a written offer through his counsel that, till investigation into which the allegations against him is completed, he will not discharge any of the functions of the post.
 
Senior counsel Harish Salve, appearing for the Cricket Association of Bihar in one of the petitions, had submitted that no further investigation into the allegations against Mr. Srinivasan is necessary as the findings of the Justice Mukul Mudgal Committee, appointed by the court, and the materials relied on by the said committee for the findings were sufficient for the court to remove Mr. Srinivasan from the post of BCCI president as prayed in the petition before the Bombay High Court.
 
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"As we are yet to hear all the parties in these matters, we cannot at this stage form any opinion and pass orders on the basis of such opinion for removal of Mr. Srinivasan from the post of the President of the BCCI. 
 
"The IPL 2014 is, however, scheduled to commence on 16th April, 2014 and we have to pass interim orders to ensure that all those who love cricket continue to watch cricket in IPL 2014 and the matches are played by the players in accordance with the IPL Rules," the judges said.
 
"Considering the fact that Mr. Sunil Gavaskar was a cricket player of great repute and eminence, a captain of the Indian cricket team for a long period and has a wide experience in cricket related activities and of men and matters, we appoint him, as an interim measure, to function as and exercise
the powers of the President of the BCCI in relation to the IPL, 2014 till we hear and deliver the judgment in these matters. We make it clear that
with regard to all other matters of BCCI, the senior most Vice-President of the BCCI, Mr. Shiv Lal Yadav, will discharge the functions of the President of the
BCCI. 
 
"We also direct that till we deliver the judgment, none of the employees of India Cement Limited or its associate companies (except cricket players or commentators) will perform any of the duties assigned to them by the BCCI and the Interim President, Mr. Sunil Gavaskar, will have power to engage the services of such persons on whom he has confidence for work in connection with the IPL 2014," the order said.
 
The court said that it was upto Mr Gavaskar to decide as to whether Mr Sundar Raman, also an employee of India Cement, Should continue as Chief Operating Officer of IPL or not.
 
"In case of any difficulty, Mr. Gavaskar may apply to this Court for appropriate orders," the judges said.
 
They also said that Mr Gavaskar would not work as a commentator during this period as an interim president of the BCCI in relation to IPL matters, and that he would be adequately compensated for the loss of income by the BCCI.
 
The compensation amount would be determined after the court resumes hearing in the matter on April 16.
 
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"We make it clear that we have not passed any order preventing any player or any team from participating in the IPL Tournament 2014," the court added.
 
The Supreme Court had on Tuesday said that Mr Srinivasan should step aside till the IPL probe is over and given it time until yesterday to come up with a proposal in this regard.
 
The BCCI yesterday told the court that Mr Srinivasan was willing to do so and that it was keen that the probe be completed expeditiously so that the whole episode could be put behind and it could move forward.
 
The Supreme Court proposed yesterday that Mr Srinivasan should step down and an eminent cricketer such as Mr Gavaskar be appointed in his place till it gave its final verdict in the IPL case.
 
It had also proposed that CSK and RR should not be part of IPL 7 and that no peson associated with India Cements, the company headed by Mr Srinivasan, should be allowed to function in any capacity in the BCCI.
 
The court had given the BCCI time until today to consider the proposals before it gave its interim order in the matter.
 
In the orders issued today, CSK and RR were allowed to participate in the tournament. 
 
The decision to ask Mr Yadav to handle the duties of the president of BCCI, other than those related to IPL, is in keeping with its rules which require that its head should be a member of the body.
 
Mr Srinivasan is the Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of India Cements, which owns CSK, one of the eight teams in the tournament.
 
His son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan, who was a member of the CSK team management, was arrested by the Mumbai Police in May 2013 as part of their probe into alleged spot-fixing and betting in the sixth season of IPL.
 
Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who is also the captain of CSK, is a senior employee of India Cements, as are some others associated with IPL and BCCI.
 
Mr Srinivasan had last year stepped aside as the BCCI chief to facilitate the investigations into the allegations, but was, on September 29, 2013 re-elected to the position.
 
The Justice Mukul Mudgal Committee's report, which was handed over to the Supreme Court on February 10 this year, is understood to have said that the allegations against Mr Meiyappan needed to be probed further.
 
The court had appointed the committee on October 8 last year to investigate the alleged scam.
 
Some players of Rajasthan Royals, including Indian bowler S Sreesanth, had been arrested for their alleged role in the spot-fixing scam.
 
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India bags 4 more golds, slides to 3rd place in medals table

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India bagged up four more gold medals - 3 in boxing and 1 in table tennis - as it raised its tally to 36 golds but dropped to third place in the medals table in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on Wednesday.
India's Sharat Kamal Achanta and Subhajit Saha after winning the gold medal in the men's doubles in table tennis at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on October 13, 2010.
India's Sharat Kamal Achanta and Subhajit Saha after winning the gold medal in the men's doubles in table tennis at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on October 13, 2010.

Indian boxers Paramjeet Samota, Manoj Kumar and Suranjoy Mayengbam and men's table tennis pair of Sharat Kamal Achanta and Subhajit Saha picked up gold medals as the hosts raised their tally to 36 gold medals on the penultimate day of the XIX Commonwealth Games here today.

The hosts, however, found themselves pushed to third place in the medals table, with 36 golds, 26 silvers and 34 bronzes.

England pushed past them to the second slot with 37 golds, 56 silvers and 45 bronzes while Australia was unassailable at the top with 72 golds, 50 silvers and 47 bronzes.

The day also brought some shame for the home contingent with athlete Rani Yadav, who had competed in the women's 20 km walk, testing positive for a banned substance during an anti-doping test. She has been suspended from the Games, pending the result of a B sample test in the next 48 hours.

Samota capped India's best-ever showing in boxing at the Commonwealth Games as he outpointed Tariq Abdul Haqq of Trinidad and Tobago 5-1 in the men's heavy weight (91 kg) event in the final bout of competition this evening.

The Indian, who had bagged the bronze at the Asian Championships in Zhuhai, China last year, dominated the bout from the word go. He was leading 3-0 in the first round and increased it to 5-0 by the ed of the second, finishing with a 5-1 decision.

Before him, Manoj Kumar upset the more experienced Bradley Saunders of England in the light welterweight (64 kg) category 11-2. Saunders is a European Championships gold medallist.

Kumar, 24, worked up a 4-1 lead after the first round and widened it further to 8-1 going into the last round.

Earlier, Suranjoy won his flyweight (52kg) bout by walkover when Benson Njangiru of Kenya pulled out with a wrist injury.

India ended the competition with three gold and four bronze medals. Northern Ireland won three gold and England two, while Scotland and Sri Lanka took one each. This was India's best showing in boxing in the Commonwealth Games. They had won one gold each in 2002 and 2006.

Top-seeded Achanta and Saha sent the crowd at the packed Yamuna Sports Complex into raptures as they beat second-seeded Gao Ning and Yang Zi of Singapore 9-11, 12-10, 11-4, 5-11, 11-8 in the final of the men's doubles event in table tennis.

The Singapore dictated the pace in the early stages and wrapped up the first set 11-9. But the crowd egged the local pair on and Achanta and Saha played brilliantly to take the next two sets 12-10 and 11-4. Gao and Yang took the match into a fifth set by winning the fourth 11-5 before Achanta and Saha settled the issue by winning the next set 11-8.

This is the first time that India has won the gold medal in the men's doubles in table tennis at the Commonwealth Games.

"In 2006 we went out of competition as underdogs. No one recognised us in the men's doubles competition in 2006. I was full of pride, so happy that I was finally able to do it. The government and our country has helped us a lot and the best way we can repay them is with a win today. Our aim was that our flag should fly high and we accomplished it," he said.

About his loss in the men's singles semi-finals to Yang earlier in the day, he said, "I lost the match today with close points. The competition was really tough. I wasn't able to forget my defeat today. It was really a hard phase today. I had just three hours to get rid of the thought that I was defeated today."

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India grab 6 more golds to take Games tally to 20, stay in 2nd place

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India won 6 more golds - 3 in shooting, 2 in wrestling and 1 in archery - to take its tally to 20 and retain the second slot in the medals table at the XIX Commonwealth Games in Delhi on Friday,

India's Dola Banerjee, Deepika Kumari and Bombayala Devi after winning the gold medal in archery in the women;s team recurve event at the XIX Commonwealth Games in New Delhi on October 8, 2010.
India's Dola Banerjee, Deepika Kumari and Bombayala Devi after winning the gold medal in archery in the women;s team recurve event at the XIX Commonwealth Games in New Delhi on October 8, 2010.

India won six more golds - three in shooting, two in wrestling and one in archery - to take its tally to 20 and retain the second slot in the medals table on the fifth day of competitions in the XIX Commonwealth Games here today.


The hosts have so far managed 20 golds, 16 silvers and 12 bronzes. Australia are at the top of the table with 47 golds, 24 silvers and 27 bronzes, while England remained in the third place with 19 golds, 37 silvers and 20 bronzes.


The day started on a happy note for India with the trio of Deepika Kumari, Dola Banerjee and Bombayala Devi Laishram coming from behind to stun England 207-206 and taking the top slot in the Women's Team Recurve event in archery.


A little later, ace shooters Gagan Narang and Imran Hasan Khan won the gold in the Pairs 50m Rifle 3 Positions Men event.


Their compatriot Vijay Kumar, 25, set a new Games Final Record to win gold, notching up 787.5 points in the Singles 25m Rapid Fire Pistol Men event. He had earlier broken his own Games Qualification Record with a score of 583 points.


Alka Tomar defeated Tonya Verbeek of Canada in the 59 kg Women's Freestyle wrestling event at the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex.


She was followed by Anita, who beat Megan Buydens of Canada in the final of the 67 kg Women's Freestyle to take the gold.


"I've been through two months of hard training. After this win I'm more confident for future events like that," she said later.


India got their sixth gold medal of the day when shooter Omkar Singh won the Singles 10m Air Pistol Men with a score of 681.8. Bin Gai of Singapore took the silver with 676.2 while Daniel Repacholi of Australia got the bronze with 674.


Omkar Singh had picked up the gold in the company of Gurpreet Singh in the Men's 10m Air Pistol Pairs, notching up 1163 points for a new Games record. On Wednesday, he had won the Men's 50m Pistol Singles and taken the silver in the Men's 50m Pistol Pairs with Deepak Sharma on Tuesday.


Ashish Kumar, who won a bronze in the Men's Floor Exercise yesterday to earn for India its first ever medal in Gymnastics in the Commonwealth Games, won the silver in the men's vault today.


"I am disappointed at not getting the gold medal, but at least I have the experience of competing at this level. My first vault was the highest, but on the second I lost it," he said later.


Gymnast Ashish Kumar
Gymnast Ashish Kumar

The gold went to England's Luke Fowell, who had a score of 15.762 points. Kumar scored 16.150 points on his first attempt but then got a disappointing 14.475 on his second vault for an overall tally of 15.312. Ian Galvan of Canada got the bronze with a score of 15.037.


India had never won a medal in gymnastics before yesterday at the Olympics, World Championships or the Commonwealth Games.


Gurpreet Singh, who had won two golds yesterday in the Men's 25m Rapid Fire Pistol Pairs and 10m Air Pistol Pairs, won the bronze in the event. Malaysia's Hasli Izwan Amir Hassan took the silver with a score of 760.3.


Manavjit Singh Sandhu and Mansher Singh grabbed silver in the Men's Trap Pairs event in shooting with a score of 197. The gold went to Australian pair Michael Diamond and Adam Vella, who notched up 198 for a new Games record.


In tennis, India were assured of a gold or silver in both the men's and women's singles with top seed Somdev Devvarman and Sania Mirza winning their semi-final matches today.


Devvarman beat Australia's Matt Ebden 6-3, 6-1 and will meet Greg Jones, also of Austrlia, in the final on Sunday.


Mirza dropped a set but then staged a strong comeback in front of a partisan home crowd on Central Court to prevail 1-6, 6-4, 6-4 over Olivia Rogowska of Australia. She will meet the winner of the other semi-final between two Australians, Anastasia Rodionova and Sally Peers.


"That was a fantastic win. My heart is beating really fast. It hasn't sunk in," Mirza said after the match.


"I'm happy with the way I fought because in the match I didn't play that well. I knew I just needed to fight and come up with something different. I just had to hang in there," she said.


There was disappointment for the home crowds in the men's doubles with Rohan Bopanna and Devvarman going down 6-3, 3-6, 4-6 to Ross Hutchins and Ken Skupski of England and Mahesh Bhupati and Leander Paes losing 2-6, 2-6 to Paul Hanley and Peter Luczak of Australia in the semi-finals.


India's Rahul Banerjee and Tarundeep Rai won the bronze in the Men's Team Recurve in archery today, beating England for the third position.


In wrestling, Babita Kumari of India had to settle for silver in the women's freestyle 51 kg event after losing the final to Ifeoma Christi Nwoye of Nigeria in the final.


The Indian women's hockey team drubbed Trinidad and Tobago 7-0 after losing 1-2 to Australia yesterday.


In boxing, Jai Bhagwan thrashed Nasser Mafuru of Tanzania 11-2 in the lightweight (60 kg) and Dilbag Singh beat Aaron Prince of Trinidad and Tobago 11-3 in the welterweight (69 kg).


India lost to New Zealand in the women's pairs of the lawn bowls competition and found themselves pushed to fifth place and unlikely to make the play-offs.


In squash, Anwesha Reddy of India beat Zephanie Curgenven of Guernsey 11-5, 11-5 5-11, 6-11, 11-6 in the women's singles Consolation Plate Final at the Siri Fort Sports Complex.


Shooters Gagan Narang and Imran Hasan Khan of India after winning the gold medal in the Pairs 50m Rifle 3 Positions Men event at the XIX Commonwealth Games in New Delhi on October 8, 2010.
Shooters Gagan Narang and Imran Hasan Khan of India after winning the gold medal in the Pairs 50m Rifle 3 Positions Men event at the XIX Commonwealth Games in New Delhi on October 8, 2010.

For shooter Narang, it was his third gold medal of the meet so far and the second in the pairs. He had earlier won the men's 10m Air Rifle Pairs event along with Abhinav Bindra and then in the 10m Air Rifle Men's Singles event.


In the process, Narang became the fifth person to win seven gold medals in shooting in the Commonwealth Games. He is the first male athlete to win three gold medals at the current edition of the Games in Delhi.


Narang and Khan finished with a tally of 2325, a Games record, to beat James Huckle and Kenny Parr of England, who had a total of 2308 in the finals at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting range.


At the Yamuna Sports Complex, the England women archers had maintained a slender lead for most of the tie today but found themselves in a position where they needed to score 15 points with just two arrows left to overtake the Indians.


Amy Oliver managed only six with her last shot and Alison Williamson needed a 10 off her final arrow but hit an eight to hand the Indian team the gold.


India's compound archers had won a silver in the men's and a bronze in the women's team events yesterday.


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India grabs 5 golds to climb to 2nd spot in medals tally at Commonwealth Games

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India grabbed five gold medals to climb to the second spot in the medals tally behind Australia at the end of the second day of competitions in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on Tuesday.
Shooters Abhinav Bindra and Gagan Narang after winning the first gold for India at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on October 5, 2010.
Shooters Abhinav Bindra and Gagan Narang after winning the first gold for India at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on October 5, 2010.

India grabbed five gold medals -- with two pairs of shooters hitting the bull's eye and wrestlers snatching all three titles at stake -- to climb to the second spot in the medals tally behind Australia at the end of the second day of competitions in the XIX Commonwealth Games here today.

The hosts started the day on a bright note as Beijing Olympics gold medalist Abhinav Bindra and world record holder Gagan Narang won the first gold of the Games for them in the men's 10 m Air Rifle Pairs at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range.

They shot a total of 1,193 out of a maximum 1,200 points to snatch victory. Bindra scored 595 while Narang scored 598.

Shortly afterwards, Rahi Sarnobat and Anisa Sayeed set a Games record of 1,156 points to win gold in the women's 25 m Pistol Pairs.

The action then shifted to the wrestling arena at the Indira Gandhi Stadium, where in the men's Greco-Roman style, Ravinder Singh, Sanjay and Anil Kumar snatched gold in their respective categories.

Ravinder beat England's Christopher Terence Bosson 7-2 in the 60 kg category after which Sanjay prevailed over Brian Richard Addinall 2-0 in the 74 kg category. Anil Kumar brought more cheers for the home team by outperforming Hassene Fkiri of Australia 6-0 in the final of the 96 kg category.

India's medals haul today also included two silvers won by Deepak Sharma and Omkar Singh in the men's 50 m pistol pairs event and Tejaswini Sawant and Lajjakumari Gauswami in the 50 m rifle 3 position.

India's tally now stands at 5 golds, 4 silvers and 2 bronzes. India's women lifters Sonia Chanu and Sandhya Rani Devi gave India their first two medals - a silver and a bronze in the 48 kg class yesterday, followed by a silver and bronze by their male counterparts Sukhen Dey and V Srinivasa Rao in the 56 kg class.

In shooting, Sarnotbat achieved an average of 9.733 points while Sayeed averaged 9.533 in the session. For India, it was the second successive gold in this event, having won in the Melbourne Games in 2006, too.

Australia's Linda Ryan and Lalita Yauhleuskaya bagged silver with 1,146 points while Gorgs Geikie and Julia Lydall of England took the bronze with 1,122 points.

Onkar Singh and Deepak Sharma won a silver for India in the 50 m Air Pistol Pair event.

In the men's 10 m Air Rifle Pairs event, James Huckle and Kenny Parr of England took the silver with 1,174 points while Hel Abdullah Baki and Asif Hossain Khan of Bangladesh got the bronze with 1,173 points.

With today's victory, Bindra completed a treble in the event, having won golds earlier at the Manchester Commonealth Games in 2002 and at Melbourne in 2006. It was his fourth gold medal in shooting in the Games.

For Narang, it was his fifth gold medal in the Commonwealth Games, having won gold in the last three editions.

Bindra and Narang today broke their own Games record of 1,189 set in Melbourne four years ago.

India's badminton star Saina Nehwal in action against Mariama Ayanna Eastmond of Barbados in the team event at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on October 5, 2010.
India's badminton star Saina Nehwal in action against Mariama Ayanna Eastmond of Barbados in the team event at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on October 5, 2010.

Narang notched a sequence of 99, 100, 100, 99, 100, 100 while Bindra ended up with a series of 100, 98, 99, 100, 99, 99

In tennis, top seed Somdev Devvarman of India won 6-4, 6-2 in his opening match against Devin Mullings of the Bahamas but he looked ill at ease. "I was a little nervous. I did well to come back," he told reporters latr.

"Playing in India is a special feeling. It doesn't matter what seed you are. When you're playing something as big as this, it's a lot more special. You win for your country, then yourself," he added.

In the men's doubles, top seeded Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi of India cruised into the last eight with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Thangarajah Dineshkanthan and Amresh Jayawickreme in the first round.

In the women's doubles, Nirupama Sanjeev and Poojashree reached the quarter-finals with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Aminath Irufa Mahir and Aminath Maleela Solih of the Maldives.

In archery, top seed Rahul Banerjee and Jayanta Talukdar of India reached the last eight in the men's recurve as did Deepika Kumari and Dola Banerjee in the women's event.

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Injury-marred India aim to topple WI in ODIs

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After earning a hard-fought series win in the T20Is, Team India will now want to take that form into the ODIs when they face West Indies in the first match of the three-game rubber to be played at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Sunday.
 
West Indies gave a glimpse of their power-packed performance in the three T20Is and the Indian team will be cautious in their approach, especially considering they will be without two of their main players in the ODIs.
 
Both Shikhar Dhawan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar have been ruled out of the series because of their respective injuries. Dhawan, who hurt his knee during the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy recently, has been replaced by Mayank Agarwal while Shardul Thakur has been named as a replacement for Kumar who suffered from a groin injury in the final T20I at the Wankhede.
 
However, despite the injuries, the Men in Blue will be confident of coming through unscathed, especially in home conditions. Captain Virat Kohli will have some tough calls to make when he will decide about the playing XI.
 
It will be interesting to see whether the hosts play the spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal considering the slowness of the Chennai pitch.
 
"We were looking at an ideal combination which gives absolute balance to the team," India bowling coach Bharat Arun had said on Friday.
 
"Also, there was an option, where we could use Jadeja as an all-rounder. So that really helped us and yes, there may be occasions when there are conducive conditions both can be playing together. But we will have to look at the overall balance before we decide the team," he added.
 
For West Indies, ODIs will provide them with the opportunity of taking in the T20 form and give a tough fight to the Indians. However, in the ODIs, the West Indies team haven't had the greatest of runs in the last few years and have gone without a win in 16 bilateral ODI series since August 2014.
 
In fact, the drawn series against England at home earlier this year remains their lone highlight. However, they would carry their confidence from the 3-0 sweep of Afghanistan last month.
 
One big positive for the visitors would be the return of their top-ranked batsman Shai Hope.
 
The head-to-head count between India and West Indies in ODIs stands currently at 62 wins each, but the gulf between the two sides has progressively widened in the last decade or so and the Indian team would like to increase that further.
 
The two teams last met in ODIs in the Caribbean Islands where India won the three-match series 2-0 after one of the matches got washed out.
 
Squads:
 
India: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant, Shivam Dube, Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Deepak Chahar, Mohammed Shami, Shardul Thakur
 
West Indies: Sunil Ambris, Shai Hope, Khary Pierre, Roston Chase, Alzarri Joseph, Kieron Pollard (C), Sheldon Cottrell, Brandon King, Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer, Evin Lewis, Romario Shepherd, Jason Holder, Keemo Paul, Hayden Walsh Jr.
 
IANS
 

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Shardul Thakur replaces injured Bhuvneshwar Kumar in India’s ODI squad

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Right-arm pace bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been ruled out of India's three-match One-Day International (ODI) series against the West Indies beginning tomorrow due to a groin injury and will be replaced by Shardul Thakur.
 
"Bhuvneshwar complained of pain in his right groin after the final T20I in Mumbai on Wednesday,"  a press release from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said.
 
"He underwent an ultrasound scan conducted by a specialist and the BCCI medical team found that his sportsman’s hernia symptoms have resurfaced. A specialist opinion will now be sought, and his management plan will be decided accordingly," the release added.
 
IANS adds:
Thakur, who has replaced Bhuvneshwar, last played an ODI during the Asia Cup in September 2018, following which he played his first and only Test against the West Indies in October.
 
Bhuvneshwar has become the second player after Shikhar Dhawan to be ruled out of the West Indies ODI series. Dhawan, who hurt his knee during the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy recently, was replaced by Sanju Samson for the T20I series, while Mayank Agarwal has taken his place in the ODIs.
 
Bhuvneshwar has been struggling with injuries since the 2018 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
 
He had struggled in India's tour of England missing T20Is and ODIs before eventually returning home midway during the five-Test series after his back injury resurfaced.
 
The 29-year-old also struggled with hamstring injuries at World Cup 2019 as well. During the World Cup, he had to limp out of the marquee contest against Pakistan in Manchester with a hamstring strain after bowling just 2.4 overs. He made a comeback in the semi-finals, but then missed the home series against South Africa and Bangladesh recently.
 
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Motorsport: JK Tyre Orange 4X4 Fury set for showdown between MOCA and BODA

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Marabhum Offroaders Club of Arunachal and BODA will be the cynosure of all eyes as the 6th edition of the JK Tyre Orange 4X4 Fury gets underway here in the serene and quaint Dambuk Valley.
 
MOCA were the surprise package last year and stunned everyone in the fray with their fearless and tactical driving to win the title. They will fancy their chances again this year and will definitely try and use their local knowledge to the optimum in pursuit of glory.
 
However, it won’t be an easy affair for them as they would face a strong challenge from BODA, one of the most experienced off-roading teams of India. BODA, winner here in 2017, will have a strong edge going into the event and will for sure eager to underline their supremacy this year.
 
Other teams that will fancy their chances in this event will be NIOC from Delhi, R&T Catalyst from Kottayam, Team Fairmont from Mumbai and DOT of Goa. 
 
The 4X4 Fury which is being held against the backdrop of the famous 'Orange Festival of Adventure & Music' will test the skills of the team in a challenging format comprising long marathon stages. This will be the first time such a format is being followed in an off-roading competition.
  
Considered as one of the toughest off-roading events of India, the competitors will have to negotiate natural and gruelling obstacles like swamps, steep riverbanks, boulder-filled riverbeds and tracks through verdant rainforests. The event will be a tough test of man and machine over the next few days.
 
This is a calendar event of Arunachal Pradesh Tourism that is focused on promoting adventure sports in the state.
 
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Motorsport: Viscaal upstages Schumacher in Race-1 of MRF Challenge

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Bent Viscaal of The Netherlands pulled off a fine win in Race 1 of the FIA-approved MRF Challenge at the Bahrain International Circuit here today, pushing pole-sitter German David Schumacher to second spot with Denmark’s Valdemar Eriksen completing the podium.
 
The originally scheduled 10-lap race was reduced to nine laps of which five were run behind the Safety Car following a crash at the start involving Indian-American Yuven Sundaramoorthy whose stalled car and was hit from behind by India’s Chetan Korada. Both were forced to retire from the race.
 
The lengthy Safety Car period effectively reduced the race to a hectic sprint. Viscaal, having moved from second to first with a great start, held position and also posted the fastest lap of the race which earned him a further two points, while Schumacher overcame a poor start to finish second. Eriksen started sixth on the grid, but made four spots to move to second in the very first lap before being passed by Schumacher.
 
Behind the trio, there was a hectic scramble for positions as Australian Dylan Young moved from eighth to eventual fourth ahead of Britain’s Joshua Mason, Japanese-American Reece Ushijima, who had qualified third, championship leader Michelangelo Amendola from Belgium, Denmark’s Largim Ali and Jordanian Manaf Hijjawi, in that order.
 
“I made a good start to get to P1, but about four laps behind the Safety Car meant I didn’t get enough of racing which was a shame. I think we have taken a big step forward with the car and I thank my race engineer and the team,” said the 20-year old Viscaal.
 
Schumacher, 18, was disappointed with his start and said: “I didn’t get used to the clutch which is very hard. So, I nearly stalled the car when the lights went out. The race was also not quick enough. Let’s see what we can do in the next race.”
 
In contrast, Eriksen, only 16, was happy with his podium finish. “I had a great start, moving from P6 to P2, but on re-start after the Safety Car period, I was passed by David. Thereafter, I just cruised home. Hopefully, I will do better in the future,” he said.
 
Earlier, the 30-minute qualifying session in overcast conditions with wet patches in some of the corners following overnight rains, witnessed a straight shootout between Schumacher (01:59.765) and Viscaal (01:59.918), both of whom ducked under the two-minute barrier, thus bettering last year’s pole position timing of 02:00.248 set by Max Defourny.
 
At one stage, Viscaal looked set for pole position with about seven minutes left on the clock, but Schumacher, who was quickest in last night’s Free Practice-2, came up with a hot lap, about four minutes from close of the session to upstage the Dutch youngster.
 
One of the surprises of the session was Ushijima (02:00.815) who moved up the grid to the third spot with a late flier while Hijjawi (02:00.905) came in fourth to complete the second row. Sundaramoorthy (02:01.000) did well to finish fifth ahead of Eriksen (02:01.034), and the pair was followed by Mason (02:01.174), Young (02:01.243), Amendola (02:01.264), Ali (02:01.608) and Korada (02:03.218).
 
The results:
 
Race-1 (9 laps): 1. Bent Viscaal (Netherlands) (23mins, 52.460secs); 2. David Schumacher (Germany) (23:54.517); 3. Valdemar Eriksen (Denmark) (23:59.008). Fastest Lap: Viscaal (02:00.349).
 
Qualifying: 1. Schumacher (01:59.765); 2. Viscaal (01:59.918); 3. Ushijima (02:00.815); 4. HIjjawi (02:00.905); 5. Sundaramoorthy (02:01.000); 6. Eriksen (02:01.034); 7. Mason (02:01.174); 8. Young (02:01.243); 9. Amendola (02:01.264); 10. Ali (02:01.608); 11. Korada (02:03.218).
 
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Boxing: Bengaluru Brawlers beat depleted Punjab Panthers in IBL

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Anamika (51kg) and skipper Simranjit Kaur (60kg) fought their way to victories enabling bottom placer Bengaluru Brawlers to beat a depleted Punjab Panthers 4-3 in the 11th match of the Big Bout Indian Boxing League (IBL) at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium here tonight. 
 
Having collected 12 points in their earlier matches, Punjab Panthers rested skipper M C Mary Kom, Uzbek star Abdulmalik Khalakov and Manoj Kumar and fielded four Big Bout debutants in their penultimate league match. Bengaluru Brawlers had won only six points from three earlier matches.
 
After Anamika and Simranjit Kaur gave the Bengaluru Brawlers a head start by winning the women’s bouts, Dinesh Dagar and Pawan Kumar Narwal (75kg) served their team well by posting their maiden win in four matches.
 
In the absence of Mary Kom, World Youth Championships silver medalist Anamika made light of  southpaw Darshana Doot's challenge. Anamika  showcased her superior technical skills to overcome the height and reach advantage that her rival started with.
 
She used her speed and aggressive approach to force Doot to backpedal a lot in the opening round. Though the Punjab Panthers boxer made a comeback of sorts in the second round, finding the gap in Anamika’s defence, the dapper Bengaluru Brawler pugilist emerged easy  winner.
 
Punjab Panthers’ PL Prasad made it 1-1 when he recorded a unanimous points verdict over Ashish Insah. It was in soaking in the pressure of having to earn a crucial point for his team that Prasad stood out. He moved deftly and landed punches to ensure that he would always be ahead.
 
Dagar got familiar with the taste of victory by scoring a split decision over Big Bout debutant Yashpal who replaced the experienced Manoj Kumar in the Panthers’ lineup. Skipper Simranjit Kaur extended her run of wins to four in as many starts by defeating an enthusiastic Manisha, preferred by the Panthers ahead of South Asian Games champion Sonia Lather. On her part, Manisha did well to harry Simranjit Kaur consistently with a left hook that fetched her points.
 
With a lot depending on him, Narwal earned his maiden Big Bout win with a split 4-1 verdict over former national champion, southpaw Rakesh Kumar in the penultimate bout. The manner in which he balanced attack with defence was impressive and he imposed a standing count in the second round with a combination of punches to swing the balance decisively in his favour.
 
However, despite the defeat in the match, Punjab Panthers returned to the second place on the points table  through victories for Ankit who beat his fellow-Big Bout debutant Suraj Singh in the 57kg battle and Naveen Kumar who vanquished Harshpreet in the 91kg battle that closed the night. Panthers have 15 points from four matches behind Gujarat Giants (17 points from four).
 
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Football: Raphael Messi’s brace salvages the day for Kerala against Jamshedpur

There was no shortage of entertainment as Kerala Blasters FC and Jamshedpur played out a 2-2 draw in a Hero Indian Super League (ISL) clash at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Friday.
 
Kerala had the better chances to score but it was a Piti (38') penalty that broke the deadlock. C K Vineeth (71') added the visitor's second before Raphael Messi Bouli scored a brace (75', 87') to pull his team level.
 
With the spoils being shared, Jamshedpur are third with 13 points from eight matches while Kerala sit seventh with seven points.
 
Mario Arques, who was deemed fit to start after a lengthy layoff, nearly got his team off to a splendid start. Seityasen Singh nicked the ball on the right flank and cut inside to deliver a threatening cross that was headed straight at the goalkeeper by the Spanish midfielder at the far post.
 
The visitors were careless in possession early in the game, with Jeakson stealing the ball off Aitor Monroy to set Raphael Messi Bouli free, but the Cameroonian striker couldn't keep his shot on target.
 
With the game nearing half-time, the referee penalised Vlatko Drobarov's manhandling of Tiri inside the box from a corner conceded by a Seityasen backpass. Piti calmly slotted home from 12 yards to put Jamshedpur ahead.
 
Kerala spurned a well-worked chance to equalise after the restart. Seityasen drilled a low cross into the box from the right flank for Arques who failed to connect at the near post. The loose ball fell perfectly for Sergio Cidoncha whose powerful strike from inside the box flew wide.
 
Sahal Abdul Samad's introduction in place of Cidoncha in the second half gave the hosts a much-needed spark in midfield. In the 66th minute, the Kerala-born midfielder danced his way past the Jamshedpur defence before getting a shot away. Tiri was well-positioned to block the strike and keep his team in the lead.
 
Five minutes later, on his return to Kochi, substitute CK Vineeth struck Jamshedpur's second. The forward played a one-two with Farukh Chaudhary before dribbling into the box and finding the gap between Rehenesh and the near post.
 
Kerala Blasters pressed high up the field as an emergency response and worked the ball well to find a goal in the 75th minute. Sahal produced a delightful chip from inside the box for Messi who nodded in at the far post to provide a ray of hope for his team.
 
With three minutes left for the end of regulation time, Kerala found an equaliser. Seityasen Singh dribbled into the box and was brought down by Robin Gurung. Messi stepped up and converted from the spot to complete his brace and a late comeback for Kerala.
 
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Badminton: Tasnim in last 8, Varun bows out of Asia U17 & U15 Championships

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On a day of mixed fortunes, U-15 girl's singles top seed Tasnim Mir stormed into the quarter-finals but U-17 boys top seed Varun Kapur bowed out of the Badminton Asia U17 & U15 Championships at Surabaya in Indonesia today.
 
Gujarat girl Mir needed just 20 minutes to get the better of Malaysia’s Wen Tse Chan 21-6, 21-16. She will next face Japan’s Maya Taguchi for a place in the semi-finals.
 
In U-17 boy's singles, Maharashtra’s Varun Kapur put up a determined effort against Indonesia’s Raynaldi Oktavianur Rizky but went down 19- 21, 21-23 in a 50-minute battle.
 
In U-15, top seed  Assam boy Tanmoy Bikash Boruah overpowered 13th seed Denis Farell Satria Pradana 24-22, 21-15 on his way to the last eight.
 
Later, in the  U-15 doubles, the top-seeded pair of Boruah and  Lakshay Sharma beat Tanakorn Meecha and Taenkun Tianchan of Thailand 21-18, 21-17 to make it to the quarters.
 
Telangana’s Lokesh Reddy Kalagotla and West Bengal’s Ankit Mondal also joined them in the final eight with a 21-17, 22-20 victory over Korea’s Seung Won Baek and Sung Ju Park.
 
In the girl's doubles in the same section, Kerala girls Andrea Sarah Kurien and Pavithra Naveen showed great fighting spirit to complete a 21-18, 17-21, 21-13 win over Hong Kong’s Man Ki Lee and Wing Ka Liang. However, their challenge later came to an end when Malaysia’s Wei Wen Carmen Ting and Masong Xin Yee beat them narrowly 18-21, 21-15, 23-21.
 
In U-17  Girl's’s doubles, Karnataka combine of Janani Ananthakumar and Tanya Hemanth  overcame Japan’s Maki Kanehiro and Yuka Sarukawa 21-17, 20-22, 21-19 to enter the second round.
 
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Golf: Kapil Kumar keeps his lead with 68 in round two of ICC RCGC Championship

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Delhi’s Kapil Kumar kept his lead for the second day running with a roller coaster four-under 68 at the ICC Royal Calcutta Golf Club (RCGC) Championship here on Friday. 
 
Kapil, looking for his maiden title, totalled eight-under 136 to be the half-way leader by one shot at the Rs. 40 lakh event. Mumbai’s Anil Bajrang Mane (68) moved up one spot to second at seven-under 137 while Bengaluru’s M Dharma was the big gainer moving up 24 spots to third position at six-under 138 as a result of his tournament-best score of seven-under 65.
 
A fog delay of 45 minutes in the morning meant that play started at 7:15 am instead of the scheduled 6:30 am.
 
The cut was declared at five-over 149. Fifty-one professionals made the cut for the weekend.
 
Kapil Kumar (68-68) had an eventful day in stark contrast to his first-round effort as he drained eight birdies in exchange for four bogeys. The 27-year-old was accurate with his irons for the second straight day since he set up as many as five birdie putts from a range of six feet. Kapil, who comes from a golfing family with three of his cousins also competing on the PGTI, made his longest putt of the day, a 14-footer on the 14th.
 
Kapil's chipping let him down as he conceded all of his four bogeys as a result of poor chip shots. Nonetheless, Kapil put up a resilient display fighting back with a pair of birdies each time he dropped a shot.
 
“It was an up and down day for me. I made lesser mistakes in round one but today I made more birdies so can’t really complain about today’s round. My good iron-play has been the common factor on both days.
 
“However, going forward, I’ll need to focus on my chipping and bunker shots which were not up to the mark today. All my four bogeys today were a result of missed chip-putts,” added Kapil currently placed 46th in the PGTI Order of Merit" 
 
Mane (69-68), ranked 64th in the PGTI’s money list and battling to save his card for next season, had reason to rejoice on Friday when he returned a 68 to rise into contention.
 
Struggling in the second half of the season due to a shoulder injury, Mane  played his irons and wedges well to set up three birdie putts within four feet. He also sank two birdies from a range of 18 to 20 feet. Mane’s only bogey of the day came on his closing ninth hole.
 
“After a good Feeder Tour season where I finished third in the Order of Merit, I suffered an injury to my right shoulder that affected my game and my results in the second half of the PGTI season. I’m still playing through pain and that has reduced my distance with the driver and irons.
 
"Therefore, today’s round is all the more special since I’ve done well despite not being in the best of physical shape. I would like to thank Priyanshu Singh’s caddie Sachin who helped me with my putting before the tournament by getting me to do certain drills. My caddie Sushant has also done a great job by giving me good lines on the greens.”
 
Dharma (73-65) made the big move on Friday with eight birdies and a bogey. A marked improvement in Dharma’s tee shots on day two could be attributed to his decision to choose his two-iron over the driver. The 33-year-old currently ninth on the PGTI Rankings landed it close through the round except on the seventh where he knocked in a 20-footer for a birdie. Dharma also ended the day with a good up and down for a par save on the 18th.
 
Dharma said, “Club selection was the big issue with my game during round one. But today I got it right as I changed strategy by teeing off using the two-iron more often than the driver. That helped me keep the ball in play, unlike the first round where I was struggling with my tee shots. I hit 14 greens in regulation today as compared to 10 in round one.
 
“I was really pleased to make a birdie on the seventh, a hole that I consider one of the toughest on this course. A good start and being four-under through seven holes really lifted my spirits and contributed to my good score," he said.
 
Chandigarh’s Akshay Sharma (70) was in fourth at five-under 139 while Gurugram’s Ankur Chadha (73), the joint overnight leader, slipped to tied fifth at three-under 141.
 
Mohammad Sanju (71) was the highest-ranked Kolkata player as he joined Ankur Chadha, Sri Lankan Mithun Perera and Noida’s Amardip Malik in tied fifth.  Kolkata’s Sunit Chowrasia (72) was a further shot back in tied ninth at two-under-142.
 
Delhi-based rookie Kshitij Naveed Kaul, the highest-ranked player in the field being fourth in the PGTI Rankings, occupied tied-12th at one-under 143.
 
The prominent names that missed the cut were local favourite Shankar Das (six-over 150) of Kolkata and Gurugram-based rookie Priyanshu Singh (nine-over 153).
 
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Big Bout Indian Boxing League: Bombay Bullets beat Gujarat Giants to stay in contention

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Riding on Naveen Boora and Ananta Chopade's heroics, Bombay Bullets overpowered fancied Gujarat Giants 4-3 to stay alive in the Big Bout Indian Boxing League.
 
The win helped Bombay Bullets (11 points from three matches) regain a top-four position behind leaders Gujarat Giants (17 from four), Odisha Warriors (13 points from four), Punjab Panthers (12 points from three) and alongside NE Rhinos (11 points from three). 
 
Earlier, the Rhinos picked up a win by a point that Odisha Warriors’ Uzbek import Jasurbek Latipov gifted by being disqualified.
 
With 14 points in their kitty, Gujarat Giants decided to rest skipper Amit Pangal (52kg class), former world champion Sarita Devi (women’s 60kg) and Mohammed Husamuddin (57kg).  And, after winning the toss, they blocked Chirag’s 57kg class bout against Kavinder  Bisht.
 
For Bombay Bullets, who fielded an unchanged line-up in their three matches, Naveen Boora and Ananta Chopade were the heroes. The effervescent 20-year-old Naveen Boora beat Duryodhan  Negi in a hard-fought 69kg battle.  Ananta Chopade (52kg) was a class act as he gained a unanimous verdict over Pangal’s replacement, Sanjay Kumar.
 
These victories sandwiched winning efforts by Spaniard Emmanuel Reyas who beat British champion Scott Forrest in the 91kg battle and skipper Ingrit Lorena Valencia who held back a challenge by Monika in the women’s 51kg bout for the team to open up a 4-0 lead over the table-toppers.
 
Gujarat Giants needed to pick up at least a win to retain their place at the top of the table and the first of three wins came through Parveen Hooda. The recently-crowned South Asian Games champion outclassed Spaniard Melissa Noemi Gonzalez in the women’s 60kg bout by making the most of her height and reach to quell Bombay Bullets’ hopes of storming higher on the charts.
 
Gujarat Giants  showcased some of their might through Ashish Kumar who won the third time in four starts, this time picking up a unanimous verdict over Prayag Chauhan. Poonam rallied from being at the receiving end in the opening round of her Youth Women’s 57kg bout to turn the tables on Priya Kushwaha to earn her third successive victory.
 
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Football : ISL’s attacking forces collide in Goa as ATK come calling

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What do you expect when two of the most attacking sides in the Hero Indian Super League lock horns with each other? Plenty of action, drama and definitely goals. That’s all probably a certainty as FC Goa hosts ATK at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium near here on Saturday.
 
The hosts, known for their fluid attacking style, have not exactly been at their best this season due to a variety of factors including injuries and suspensions. Despite that, they have picked up points even from lost causes, coming up with injury-time equalisers on at least three occasions.
 
The Gaurs find themselves third on the table with 12 points from seven games. Their opponents, ATK, have been brilliant ever since their opening day loss against Kerala Blasters FC. They are unbeaten in six games now and sit on top of the table with 14 points.
 
The match also sees the two best attacks in the league go head to head. ATK have scored 15 goals while FC Goa have pumped 13 so far.
 
Goa’s attack is expected to be further boosted by the return of star striker Ferran Corominas. Also, the form of Brandon Fernandes has been key to Sergio Lobera’s team. He was instrumental in Goa’s 1-0 win over Hyderabad in the last game, assisting Manvir Singh’s winner. With four assists, the midfielder has the joint-most assists this season.
 
“We are playing against FC Goa and not just (Ferran) Corominas. I know Corominas is an important player, but we don’t have any special tactics for him. Normally I don’t choose one player from the opposition or from my team. I understand football is a collective sport and not an individual sport,” said  ATK head coach Antonio Habas.
 
ATK’s attack, however, carries an equal if not a greater threat. Led by Roy Krishna, who leads the scoring charts this season with six goals, and David Williams, ATK have the ability to score at will. Add the creativity of Javier Hernandez and Edu Garcia into the mix, the Goan midfield will have to be at their best.
 
More importantly, ATK wouldn’t mind Goa enjoying most of the possession, given the pace they have going forward. Antonio Habas’ team are deadly on the counter and when given space to attack, Krishna and Williams are near unstoppable as NorthEast United found out in a 3-0 defeat last time out.
 
“For me, you will have to defend your goal and give your best. We have good strikers playing in front for us. We need to play hard and keep the concentration for every game, not only for ATK,” said Goa coach Sergio Lobera.
 
“Sometimes it is not always a very good start to the season. I am very happy now. We are playing good. We are not keeping too many clean sheets, but we will work on that,” he added.
 
Interestingly, Lobera’s Goa has never lost to an ATK side while Antonio Habas’ ATK team has never lost to Goa. There is so much to look forward to on Saturday.
 
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Bumrah to test back against Kohli, Rohit in Vizag

Jasprit Bumrah
Jasprit Bumrah
Team India is set to have a special guest at the nets when they head to Visakhapatnam for the second ODI of the series against West Indies. In what will undoubtedly be sweet music for the ears of cricket fans across the country, pace sensation Jasprit Bumrah will be at the nets to train with the Men in Blue as the team management checks his recovery after undergoing rehabilitation for the stress fracture he suffered on his back.
 
Speaking to IANS, sources in the know of developments said that Bumrah will bowl to the likes of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma and test his back as the training team led by Nitin Patel believe that he has recovered from the injury.
 
"Bumrah will be joining the team at the nets in Vizag and his back will be tested as he goes full throttle against the world's best batsmen like Kohli and Rohit. You can't really have a better test than having a go against the best in the business. As you are aware, the team management has been very particular about injury management and that is why this process has been put in place. It will be an interesting battle at the nets for sure," the source said.
 
Team India will be hosting both Sri Lanka and Australia in January before heading to New Zealand for a full-fledged tour which consists of two Tests, three ODIs and five T20Is and that is where Ravi Shastri and team want Bumrah to be 100 per cent.
 
Bumrah's importance in the Indian set-up is well known and sources in the know of developments had earlier said that even the Indian team management didn't wish to take any chance with his recovery post the stress fracture on his back and that is why he was sent to the UK for consultation.
 
"You can't take a chance with one of your best bowlers even though his body was on auto-heal mode. So, he was sent to the UK for consultation. We have an important tour of New Zealand coming up in the new year and he will be an integral part of the planning there. So, the team management was very clear that they are happy to wait and have him back at his best in time for the New Zealand tour," the source had told IANS.
 
It is believed that Bumrah could be brought back into the team for the ODI series against Australia as the management might not want to rush him for the Sri Lanka series in the first week of January. India play Australia in the first ODI on January 14 in Mumbai.
 
IANS
 

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Badminton: Tanmoy, Tasnim advance into pre-quarter-finals of Asia U-17 & U-15 Championships

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Top seeded Tanmoy Boruah and Tasnim Mir registered contrasting victories to enter the U-15 pre-quarter-finals of the Asia U-17 & U-15 Junior Badminton Championships in Surabaya, Indonesia on Thursday. 
 
Assam boy Tanmoy had to fight hard during his 21-17, 15-21, 21-14 win over Malaysia’s Ramno Ferdinan in the third-round match while, Gujarat’s Tasnim notched up a comfortable win 21-11, 21-15 victory against Kanaya Putri of Indonesia in the second round.
 
Later, Tanmoy also went on to beat Japanese pair of Ryudai Konta and Haruto Terauchi 21-8, 21-17 while pairing alongside Lakshay Sharma in men’s doubles second round match.
 
Another highlight of the day was Tara Sharma who upset third seed Lee Xinyi Megan of Singapore in the U-15 women’s singles match following her 22-20, 21-14 hard-fought win.
 
In the U-17 category, top-seeded Varun Kapur also entered the  last 16 after thrashing Vietnam’s Thanh Dat Bui 21-9, 21-12 in a men’s singles second round match. However, 12th-seeded Pranav Rao Gandham and eighth seeded Meghana Reddy’s challenge came to an end in the U-17 boys’ and girls’ singles category respectively. 
 
While, Pranav lost to Hu Yu Chi of Chinese Taipei 13-21, 21-16, 14-21, Meghana suffered a 16-21, 13-21 defeat against Japan’s Sorano Yoshikawa.
 
Other results:
U-15:
(MS) Ankit Mondal bt Quoc Khanh Tran (Vietnam) 21-9, 1-9,
Lokesh Reddy lost to (5) Farhan Alwi (Indonesia) 20-22, 21-23, Raghav lost to 6-Bodhi Ratana Teja Gotama (Indonesia) 19-21, 11-21;
(WS) Manya Avlani lost to Min Seon (Kim Korea) 10-21, 11-21, Anupama Upadhyaya bt Peng Yu Wei (Chinese Taipei) 21-9, 21-18;
 
(XD) Samarveer/Rijul Saini lost to Ho Wen-Hsun/Peng Yu Wei (Chinese Taipei) 12-21, 15-21, Shaurya Pant/Anya Chauhan bt Vasuwat Arayapongstorn/Thanyaporn Kijpatanasil (Thailand) 14-21, 21-18, 21-17; 
(MD) Lokesh Reddy/Ankit Mondal bt Remus NG/Qayum Noor (Singapore) 21-1, 21-19, Gagan/Mayank Rana lost to Huang Jui-Hsuan/Huang Tsung-I (Chinese Taipei) 21-18, 10-21, 18-21.
 
U-17:
(MS) 13-Ayush Raj Gupta bt Seiya Inoue (Japan) 21-17, 21-11, Sanjeev Rao Relly lost to Hsu Che Yu (Chinese Taipei) 21-12, 21-12; 
 
(MD) Saikat Banerjee/Aditya Mondal lost to Tseng Zih Cyuan/Wen Sheng Hao (Chinese Taipei) 10-21, 13-21; 
 
(XD) Arjun Fallary/Lydia Barreto bt Lehan Andrahennadi/Sashini Kumarapeliarachchi (Sri Lanka) 21-11, 21-16, Advit Bhargava/Navdha Manglam lost to Seung Min Park/Bo Hyun Seo (Kores) 19-21, 15-21.  
 
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Big Bout Indian Boxing League: NE Rhinos pip Odisha Warriors 4-3

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NE Rhinos survived a scare and then rode on Jasurbek Latipov’s disqualification to pip Odisha Warriors 4-3 in the ninth match of the Big Bout Indian Boxing League at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium Complex here tonight. 
 
Rhinos, playing without Nikhat Zareen, dropped the women’s 51kg point but were presented a bonus by Jasurbek Latipov’s disqualification.
 
The teams made four changes each in their line-up before the match, the most important being NE Rhinos decision to rest skipper Nikhat Zareen ahead of her big bouts against Ingrit Lorena Valencia of Bombay Bullets and world champion MC Mary Kom of Punjab Panthers. 
 
Rhinos also blocked the Youth Women 57kg bout from the draw, having perceived Sunita as their weakest suit today.
 
NE Rhinos were keen to move to third spot behind Gujarat Giants (14 points from three matches)  and Punjab Panthers (12 points from three) but their inability to win the final two bouts of the evening saw them in the fourth place (11 points from three matches) behind Odisha Warriors (13 points from four matches).
 
NE Rhinos received an unexpected boost when Latipov was disqualified for a low blow that felled a fading Laldin Mawia in the second bout of the evening. The Uzbek southpaw did well for a good part of two rounds but, eager to secure a knockout, he hit the young Indian below the belt and floored him.
 
It did not take much for the judges to agree with the referee in disqualifying the 28-year-old Olympian for the error in judgement caused by a rush of blood. It doubled the lead that the Rhinos had opened up through a Pwilao Basmuatary victory over Sandhya Rani. She secured a 4-1 verdict in the women’s 60kg bout and set the NE Rhinos on the way to securing the crucial victory.
 
Odisha Warriors’ ploy of fielding World Police Games gold medalist Sandhya Rani in place of Priyanka Chaudhary did not have the desired impact as NE Rhinos were reinforced by the presence of Pwilao Basumatary, fresh from her conquest of the 64kg crown in the National Championship in Kannur.
 
A classic contest between Mandeep Jangra and Jakhangir Rakhmonov in the 69kg bout erased memories of Lapitov’s indiscretion. After a tense wait for the judges to compile their verdict and declare him winners, Mandeep Jangra whooped in delight as he joined Amit Pangal (Gujarat Giants), MC Mary Kom (Punjab Panthers)  and Simranjit Kaur (Benglauru Brawlers) as the only boxers with three wins in as many starts.
 
Another close contest followed, with Shiksha securing a narrow win against Meenakshi to delay Rhinos victory in the match. The women’s 51kg bout, featuring pugilists making their respective Big Bout debuts, saw neither boxer conceding ground and trading punches tirelessly. It was a veritable feast for boxing fans before Shiksha was declared winner in a split verdict.
 
Yet, with the strapping Argentine Francisco Veron using his longer reach and superior skills against Pramod Kumar to good effect in the 75kg bout, it was a matter of time before NE Rhinos assured themselves of victory in the match. Yet, they needed to add the remaining two points to be able to take the third place on the table on their own.
 
Like Meenakshi before him, Satender Singh made a winning debut for Odisha Warriors, moving deftly and showing greater ring craft than Virender to post a victory. Mohammed Ibrahim showed that his younger brother Mohammed Etash Khan was still work in progress in the 57kg bout and helped Warriors remain in third place, though with just one more match left.
 
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Football: Kerala look to end winless run as Jamshedpur eye top spot in ISL

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Kerala Blasters will be after that elusive second win of the Hero Indian Super League season when they take on Jamshedpur FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium here on Friday.
 
The Blasters, after their opening matchday win over ATK, are winless for six games now. With three draws and as many losses in these six matches, the Blasters find themselves at the wrong end of the table in the eighth position.
 
However, they won’t have it easy against fourth-placed Jamshedpur FC who can go to the top of the table with a win in Kochi.
 
However, the form graph is interesting. Kerala Blasters played out two consecutive draws (against FC Goa and Mumbai City) coming into this match and so have Jamshedpur FC (against NorthEast United and Chennaiyin FC). Kerala coach Eelco Scahttorie and Jamshedpur manager Antonio Iriondo will want their sides to register a much-needed win. 
 
Kerala have themselves to blame for the mess they find themselves in. The team looked on course for victory against both FC Goa and Mumbai City, only to concede late and settle for a point. The concentration in the latter part of matches has let the team down. Add to the mix the fact that Jamshedpur FC have scored 4 of their 9 goals in the final 15 minutes of games, Schattorie’s side have to be concerned. They have also shown a vulnerability while dealing with set-pieces.
 
“That (conceding late goals) has to do with the quality that you have in the team. One of the first things in team meetings at my previous clubs, one thing I keep repeating is that there has to be a mindset to have double alertness,” said the Dutchman.
 
“Last week we had some mismatch during set-pieces. You have to find a solution, in this case, I tell my players to be a bit smarter, a bit meaner, to be street-smart,” added Schattorie.
 
Though Raphael Messi Bouli has shone in attack of late, the absence of Bartholomew Ogbeche will weaken their frontline which has not exactly been on fire. The Men in Yellow have scored just six goals which is the second-lowest in the league.
 
But the return of influential midfielder Mario Arques will be a relief for Schattorie, though it is unsure if he will be fit enough to start.
 
Jamshedpur FC, on the other hand, have shown fighting spirit and tactical flexibility in plenty so far. They love having the ball but are equally deadly on the counter, thanks to the pace they have on the wings. The likes of Farukh Chowdhury, C K Vineeth and Aniket Jadhav have all impressed down the wings.
 
Also, Iriondo has a knack of getting his substitutions to work. This season, substitutes have helped Jamshedpur FC win crucial points when losing or have given them the lead when things were at a stalemate on numerous occasions.
 
However, the absence of star striker Sergio Castel and midfielder Piti is bound to affect the team’s gameplan and come as a relief of sorts to Kerala.
 
“I don't know how Kerala’s winless run is going to affect the team but Kerala are a good team. They have not been lucky in the first part of the season due to factors like injuries. They try to play football, they have a good style. In this kind of short leagues, you don't have too much time,” said Iriondo.
 
“Maybe Sergio and Piti were important for the team. Maybe if they were in the team, it would be different. We are missing them a bit now,” he also admitted.
 
Kerala Blasters have never beaten Jamshedpur in four encounters between the two so far and they have won only two out of their last 10 home games. Will they improve both records with a win or will Jamshedpur continue their march to the top?  
 
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Ankur Chadha, Kapil Kumar take joint lead in round one of ICC RCGC Open Golf

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Gurugram’s Ankur Chadha and Delhi’s Kapil Kumar shot scores of four-under 68 to take the joint lead in round one of the inaugural ICC RCGC Open Golf Championship Powered by Bharat Benz, a Tata Steel PGTI event, at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club (RCGC) today.
 
The Chandigarh duo of rookie Yuvraj Singh Sandhu and Akshay Sharma, as well as Mumbai’s Anil Bajrang Mane, were in tied-third at three-under 69 on day one of the Rs. 40 lakh event.
 
Sunit Chowrasia and Md Sanju performed the best among the Kolkata golfers on Thursday as the duo was in tied-sixth with matching scores of two-under 70.
 
Ankur Chadha grew in confidence after his good execution of a couple of tricky approach shots early in his round on the 10th and 12th. The 25-year-old was then on a roll as he came up with some quality tee shots and approaches to pick up birdies on the 14th, 16th and 18th.
 
Chadha, who turned professional in 2016, found the bunker on the par-3 second where he conceded his only bogey of the day after missing an up and down. Ankur seemed to make up for that error when he recovered well from the rough on the fourth with a chip-putt for birdie.
 
However, the tall and sturdy golfer’s best birdie came on the tough seventh hole where he found the centre of the fairway with his tee shot before landing his approach to within eight feet of the hole, a putt that he converted.
 
Chadha said, “The good execution of the tough approach shots on the 10th and 12th helped settle me down. I then struck it well and sank a couple of 10-footers to get my round going. The approach on the seventh was not an easy one but I managed to land it close enough to pick up a birdie. That was the highlight of my round."
 
“There are some good signs for me this season as my scoring average is much better than last year. I’m also in a position to finish much higher on the PGTI Order of Merit this season as compared to 2018 when I was 38th. The seventh-place finish in Digboi last month was my best of the season. I’ve been in good rhythm since then.
 
“I’m happy with my consistent and solid start as it sets up the week nicely for me,” added Ankur, playing only his second event as a professional at the RCGC.
 
After a steady start with pars on his first five holes, Kapil Kumar made headway when he chipped-in for eagle on the 15th. The 27-year-old Kapil, lying 46th in the PGTI Order of Merit, then collected three more birdies, two thanks to long conversions, against a bogey on the front-nine to join Chadha at the top of the pack.
 
Kapil, a proud holder of three course records who turned professional at the tender age of 16 back in 2009, said, “I hit my irons really well today. A good par save from the rough on the 12th gave me a lot of self-belief.
 
“I’ve not been playing too well this year. But hopefully, this round can turn it around for me. Interestingly, my season-best finish of tied seventh came at the event at Tollygunge earlier this year. So, Kolkata seems to be lucky for me this season.”
 
Delhi’s Kshitij Naveed Kaul, the highest-ranked player in the field being fourth in the PGTI Rankings, struck an even-par-72 in round one to occupy tied 20th place.
 
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BWF Tour Finals: Sindhu loses to Chen Yu Fei

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Ace India shuttler P. V. Sindhu suffered her second consecutive defeat in her second Group 'A' match at the BWF Tour Finals here on Thursday. After losing to world No. 2 Chen Yu Fei, Sindhu is now all but out of contention in the tournament.
 
China's Yu Fei clinched the contest 20-22, 21-16, 21-12 in the 72 minute affair.
 
Yu Fei took an early 8-4 lead in the first game and was all set to win it before Sindhu bagged five straight points to narrowly take it 22-20 in her favour in 24 minutes.
 
The second game was another tight affair but this time it was Yu Fei who emerged victorious, taking the match to the decider.
 
Sindhu managed to take a slim 11-10 lead into the break in the third game. However, Yu Fei took six straight points to take control of the game, courtesy some exquisite strokeplay, and went on to win it 21-12 with ease.
 
If Japan's Akane Yamaguchi wins her match against Bing Jiao He, it will be the end of the road for the Indian shuttler.
 
Sindhu will now face another Chinese shuttler He Bingjiao in her last group A match on Friday.
 
IANS

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ISL match in Guwahati postponed amid CAB protest

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The Indian Super League (ISL) football match between NorthEast United FC and Chennaiyin FC scheduled to be played on Thursday night at the Indira Gandhi Athletics Stadium in Guwahati has been postponed as the state has been placed under an indefinite curfew following protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.
 
In a media release, ISL stated: "Due to the ongoing unrest in Guwahati; Match 37 between NorthEast United FC and Chennaiyin FC has been postponed until further notice."
 
"The league has been in consultation with the concerned authorities over the past 48 hours to determine the best course of action. The safety of fans, players and league staff is of paramount importance, which has led to this decision," the statement added.
 
The two teams did not train on Wednesday and pre-match media interactions were also called off.
 
The contentious bill has been passed by both the houses of Parliament.
 
Assam witnessed widespread violence on Wednesday, with protesters, including students, taking to the streets across the state, especially Guwahati where the state government has declared an indefinite curfew aimed at maintaining law and order.
 
The administration has also suspended mobile internet service in 10 districts of the state.
 
IANS
 

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Motorsport: David Schumacher to race in MRF Challenge, Bahrain International Circuit to host Round 2

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David Schumacher, son of former F1 driver Ralf, is the latest addition to India’s only FIA-approved international series, the MRF Challenge which moves to the Bahrain International Circuit here with a total of four races spread over two days – December 13 and 14.
 
The 18-year old David Schumacher from Germany, has been in tremendous form in the past year, having emerged Rookie Champion with eight wins in his category while finishing ninth Overall in the 2018 Formula 4 ADAC Championship, followed by fourth Overall with four wins in the 2019 Formula 3 Regional European Championship.
 
Schumacher is the latest among high-profile drivers who have utilised the MRF Challenge, organised by the Madras Motor Sports Club, as a stepping stone to further their racing careers. Mick Schumacher, Harrison Newey, son of Formula 1 designer ace Adrian Newey, Formula 1 test driver with Alfa Romeo Racing Tatiana Calderon and last season’s winner Jamie Chadwick, who is also the champion of the inaugural W Series this year, are some of the big names to have participated in the MRF Challenge, organised by the Madras Motor Sports Club.
 
Schumacher said: “I am really excited to race with the MRF Challenge in Bahrain. The series is a good platform to race in the winter break. I am looking forward to get the chance to do my first race in Bahrain and to prepare for the season 2020.”
 
Looking ahead to Round 2, Mr Arun Mammen, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, MRF Ltd., said: “At the outset, we would like to welcome David Schumacher to MRF Challenge. He follows his cousin, Mick, son of multiple F1 champion Michael Schumacher, and who participated in the championship couple of seasons ago and is now looking to break into F1. 
 
"David joins other teenagers from Europe and the United States who showcased their talent in the first round at Dubai last month with some very competitive racing. I am sure, these youngsters are looking forward to racing at the iconic Bahrain F1 circuit in Sakhir.”
 
The first round of the MRF Challenge last month in Dubai, comprising five races saw Belgian teenager Michelangelo Amendola dominating with three wins, besides topping the qualifying session and posting three fastest laps to pocket 119 points. The other two races were won by veteran Australian Dylan Young and 16-year old Indian-American Yuven Sundaramoorthy. Trailing Amendola on the points table is British teenager Joshua Mason (77), ahead of Young (65).
 
Interestingly, 16-year old Japanese-American Reece Ushijima, though failing to win and placed seventh in the championship behind Valdemar Erikson (Denmark), Sunderamoorthy and Jordanian Manaf Hijjawi, showed impressive pace by posting two fastest laps in his debut single-seater season, and would be the one to watch here in Bahrain.
 
Danish youngster Largim Ali is currently eighth in the championship after finishing fourth in two races while Chennai-based Chetan Korada, India’s lone entry, brings up the rear, having picked up points in all the five outings in Dubai.
 
Another new entrant for Round 2 is 20-year old Brent Viscaal from the Netherlands who took part in the FIA F3 Championship this year after having finished runner-up in the 2018 Euroformula Open Championship.  
 
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